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02.12.2021 03:42 News >> Former Argentine President Indicted On Illegal Surveillance Charges

Former Argentine President Indicted On Illegal Surveillance Charges

Mauricio Macri accused of authorizing illegal spying on relatives of 44 sailors who died when their submarine sank in 2017.

Former Argentine President Mauricio Macri was charged Wednesday in a federal court for allegedly ordering the illegal surveillance during his presidency of the families of 44 sailors who died in the sinking of a navy submarine in 2017.
Judge Martin Bava issued an indictment to Macri for the alleged "offence of carrying out prohibited intelligence actions."
Macri has been granted bail of 100 million Argentine pesos (around US$990,000).
According to the 174-page ruling, Macri allegedly "made possible the production of illegal intelligence tasks, generating the conditions so that data collection on people could be carried out, stored and used for the sole fact of their private actions or political opinions or of adhesion or belonging to partisan, social, union or community organizations and for the legal activity that they carried out."
Macri is not allowed to be away from his residence for more than 10 days without informing authorities and must also give notice and receive prior authorization to travel abroad.
Macri, who was president between 2015-2019, could face between three to 10 years in prison.
Last month, he insisted that he was innocent at a preliminary court appearance, saying "I did not spy on anyone. I never ordered [anyone] in my government to spy on anyone."
On Wednesday, Macri decried the charges, telling reporters that "I have said all along that this was political persecution that would end this way."
The ARA San Juan submarine disappeared in November 2017 and was found a year later at a depth of over 900 meters (2,952 feet) in an isolated patch of the South Atlantic roughly 400 kilometers (248 miles) from the southern Argentine coastline of Patagonia.
It had reportedly been crushed after an implosion caused by a technical fault.
All 44 crew onboard at the time died.
Authorities later decided against attempting to bring the vessel to the surface.
Family members of the deceased sailors told investigators they had been followed, wiretapped, filmed and intimidated against pursuing their claims.
According to Judge Bava "the significance of the information gathered, the intention behind it, and the systematic nature of the documents analyzed in this case allow us to state that this illegal intelligence was put together for one person: Mauricio Macri."
Macri has pushed for the case to be overturned, which was rejected, insisting he is a victim of political persecution.
A judge had earlier ordered the prosecution of two high-ranking secret service heads -- Gustavo Arribas and Silvia Majdalani -- who reported to Macri at the time. Both deny the allegations against them.​​​​​​​
To date, 12 people have been charged in connection with the case, which began after a criminal complaint from Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) Director Cristina Caamano, who reportedly discovered evidence that the sailors' relatives were spied on during Macri's tenure. -



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